Watford boss Mazzarri thought his dig at Chelsea manager Conte would not be heard after Stamford Bridge defeat
Watford boss Walter Mazzarri’s simmering feud with Antonio Conte has been brought to light – after he was caught on microphone muttering about the Chelsea manager under his breath,
Mazzarri and Conte have developed a fierce rivalry from their time working opposite each other in Italian football.
And the Hornets boss let his true feelings be known about Chelsea’s Premier League winner after his side’s 4-3 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
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Mazzarri had just taken his seat after following Conte into the post-match press conference on Monday night, when he spoke to his translator in Italian unaware the microphones were on.
The Watford boss covered his mouth but and asked: “Has he gone?
“Let’s hope so, let’s hope we don’t have to see him again.” then he turns to journalists and asks in English for the first question.
The two have been fierce rivals since their days in Italy’s series A when Mazzarri was in charge of Napoli and Conte was at Juventus – and there has long been a history of bad blood between them.
Today the off air comments were being broadcast on major Italian sport websites – top selling Gazzetta dello Sport said: “Chelsea Watford Mazzarri’s Conte gaffe”.
Earlier this week Mazzari had told The Sun he had buried the hatchet with but the comments would suggest he would like to do something else with the hatchet.
Mazzarri’s vendetta goes back to 2011 when Conte infuriated him by copying the Napoli boss’s 3-4-3 system he had created.
Conte had always favoured a trusty 4-2-4 but when his team snatched a 3-3 draw from the brink of defeat, from that night on he became a 3-4-3 man and that season Juve won the title but lost the Italian Cup to Napoli.
In 2013 Mazzarri led Napoli to second place behind Juve, still managed by Conte, but again their best finish in over 20 years.
Mazzarri, 55, though insisted: “What happened between us then in the past. Although I don’t know what formation he will play against us on Monday night!
“I hope he wins the title for them. Not just because of the Italian connection but because Chelsea deserve to win. They have had a great season.
“They are a strong team, well trained with big players although a good manager of course makes the difference.
“Before the game here at Vicarage Road, our first home match of the season last August, we talked for a long time about everything.
“There is nothing bad between us any more and I wish him all the best.
“When we meet on Monday we will be safe in the Premier League and I hope be then he has won the Premier league.
“There will be less tension in the game because hopefully we will be relaxed and both reached our targets.”